Cambridge Corners 

Coton and the Wimpole Way

Can be done on foot or by bike. About 5.5 miles in total although alternative return route is a little further.

Start at Great St Mary's church. Head west across Trinity Street into Senate House Passage. Turn right into Trinity Lane and then left into Garret Hostel Lane and over the river. Splendid views of the Backs abound, with Clare bridge to your left. Cross Queen's Road and continue up Burrell's Walk. The imposing University Library sits to your left, in a rather Stalinesque manner.

Clare bridge: photo JJ Rickard.    University Library: photo Adrian Wrigley.

Fork right over a little wooden bridge, cross Grange Road and continue straight on up Adam's Road. Where the road turns sharp right, turn onto the footpath heading away from civilization. Notice the attractive, modern University sports pavilion to your left. Stay on this tarmac path for a mile, turning left and then right about half way. This is the Wimpole Way leading, not surprisingly, some dozen miles away to Wimpole Hall. Cross the motorway over the bridge - hold your breath and block your ears as you attempt to enjoy the views. The path takes you left and then right, eventually onto a pleasant lane called The Footpath. On your left is a gate and a broad track into a recently created nature reserve. Explore if you have the time although if you follow the alternative route back to Cambridge (see below) you'll be closer to the more interesting part of the reserve. Just past the entrance to the reserve on your left is Coton recreation ground - our path has now become a road. If you are lucky they may be serving tea if there is a cricket match on. Continue alongside the edge of the 'rec' to the junction.

At the junction you may want to stop at the Plough - a large pub with a garden and lots of food. Otherwise continue straight ahead onto the High Street. Follow this left, avoiding Cambridge Road to your right (although 1/4 mile up here on the right you can have tea, a meal and a play in the Coton Orchard Garden Centre). A little further up on the left is the church. However, before this, turn up the tiny lane on the right opposite the small car park. A few paces take you into an unusual and charming little 'square' - notice the Dutch roofs on the cottages. The private house on the right used to be the John Barleycorn pub until the end of the last millennium. Make your way back to the church past the pump. If you're cycling lock your bike up here. Have a look round the church and find a path leading out of the far left corner of the churchyard. Follow the indistinct grassy track to a stile into a meadow. You should see Alpacas on your left. Follow a faint path slightly left across to another stile. If you've got a bike back at the church don't cross the stile but turn very sharp left back across the meadow; this takes you to a shady alleyway leading back to the High Street - the church is 100 metres or so to your left - from where you can head back to Cambridge the way you came.

Alternative route back
Cross the stile mentioned earlier and head through wild grasses on a clear enough path. Climb over another 2 stiles and emerge out onto a tiny lane. Just on your left is Brook Lane. Turn into this and you'll see the shoulder height remains of an ancient stone cross in the hedgerow on your left. Across the road at the bridge there is a path leading alongside the stream back to Cambridge. I have done this on a bike with a fair amount of pushing and lifting over gates: possible but better done on foot. Follow Bin Brook through pleasant meadows - watch out for the odd marshy stretch. Occasionally the path goes inland a little. After 1/2 mile, just past the last kissing gate, you reach a junction: continue nearly straight on via a staggered left and right turn - avoid the track immediately to your right at the kissing gate unless you want to investigate the pond a couple of hundred metres to the right. You'll soon cross over the motorway and then pass through a field before eventually coming onto a wide track leading to the Barton Road just west of Cambridge. Follow Barton Road (with a good cycle path) left and then Newnham Road for 1.5 miles until you reach the Mill Pond by the Granta pub on your right. Cross the bridge to the right of the Mill Pond and follow the path a little to the left across Sheep's Green onto a bigger path alongside the main branch of the river. Cross the river at the weir and turn left up Laundress Lane. Turn right at the top into Silver Street and then left into the famous King's Parade, taking you back to your starting point.

Cambridge:  Castle Hill, Coe Fen, Midsummer Common, Hobson's Conduit, Leper Chapel, Cherryhinton Hall
Outside:  Nine Wells, Baits Bite Lock, Grantchester, Fulbourn, Wandlebury, Wilbraham Fen, Milton Park